Feeds

It's official! Register hack is an alcohol-flushed cave dweller

Budget DNA test reveals our man's genome secrets

High performance access to file storage

It's official: this Reg hack is 2.7 per cent Neanderthal, belongs to the J1c3b haplogroup, is at increased risk of coronary heart disease and Restless Legs Syndrome, has wet ear wax, and slightly decreased odds of suffering male pattern baldness.

That's according to the enlightening results of a personal genome test by 23andMe, which for a budget $99 plus P&P, tells me that while I have a higher than average risk of developing Parkinson's Disease and psoriasis, I'm less likely to be afflicted with Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease.

A couple of months back, I ordered the test online and duly received a "spit pack" - basically a plastic tube for a saliva sample and a prepaid courier's envelope to whisk my sample back to 23andMe's lab for the once-over.

The company has been knocking out cheap tests since securing $50m in venture funding in 2012, in a bid to increase its sample base to one million individuals.

23andMe's mission statement says it wants to be "the world's trusted source of personal genetic information", with the aim of creating "a common, standardized resource that has the potential to accelerate drug discovery and bring personalized medicine to the public".

For customers, there's the prospect of taking "a bold, informed step toward self-knowledge" and participating in research "that could improve understanding of how genetics influences our lives".

So, determined to take a bold step towards self-knowledge, I submitted my DNA for analysis. The test involves pinpointing 1,000,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), using a "BeadChip", provided by Illumina. 23andMe explains that "although the process relies heavily on massive computer power, the chip itself is not a microprocessor but a miniaturized genetics lab".

It adds: "The BeadChip is a small glass slide with millions of tiny beads on its surface. Attached to each bead are probes - bits of DNA complementary to sites in your genome where SNPs of interest are located. Your DNA will stick to the probe that matches whichever SNP you happen to have."

While I twiddled my thumbs waiting for the BeadChip to work its magic, I did suffer some doubts about just how much self-knowledge I actually wanted. 23andMe notes: "Learning that your genotype is associated with an increased risk of a particular condition can be difficult, especially if you have seen a friend or family member struggle with a similar issue.

"One of the potential benefits of having more information is that by working with your physician you may better manage your health. But as a matter of personal choice, some people prefer not to know."

He's in his element - hydrogen!

Lester Haines preparing SPB flight hardware

When the results arrived, though, my natural curiosity overcame any misgivings. Diving straight into "Health Risks", I found I was at 58.8 per cent risk of coronary heart disease, compared to an average of 46.8 per cent, since the former percentage of "men of European ethnicity who share Lester Haines's genotype will develop coronary heart disease between the ages of 45 and 79".

23andMe rates its confidence in this result as high, based on "established research" of "at least two studies [which] examined more than 750 people with the trait or condition and/or the associations are widely accepted in the scientific community".

In the case of alopecia areata - to which I'm slightly more susceptible - the result rates slightly less confidence, based as it is on "preliminary research" where "750 people with the condition were studied, but the findings still need to be confirmed by the scientific community in an independent study of similar size".

Moving down the confidence scale, I find I have "substantially increased odds" of suffering hypertriglyceridemia, but that's based on preliminary research in which "fewer than 750 people were studied" and "multiple large studies are needed to confirm these findings".

Having dodged that bullet, pending further research at least, I dipped into "Inherited Conditions", where I found my parents had rather unkindly gifted me hemochromatosis (HFE-related).

Or rather, I've got "one mutation in the HFE gene linked to hemochromatosis". The results conclude: "A person with one of these mutations is not typically prone to higher levels of iron in the body, but can pass the mutation to offspring."

What mum and dad didn't pass down was Cystic Fibrosis, since I don't have any known mutation in the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene. 23and Me notes: "Cystic fibrosis is inherited in a recessive manner, meaning that only a child who receives two mutated copies of the CFTR gene (one from each parent) will get the disease."

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.